You Must be Influenced to Influence

As a professional in the creative industry, it’s important to be influenced by our surroundings. After all, our goal as designers, developers, writers and strategists is to influence people. It is our job to elicit a reaction or emotion out of people after they’ve consumed something we’ve created—all with the hope that our audience buys a product, tells a friend, successfully fills out a form or tweets something about us.

It would be really hard for any creative to come up with original ideas, or even the next best ad campaign, if they never followed a famous artist’s career, read the latest blog posts—or heck—watched TV. For me, I love to read about other designers, hear what they have to say in interviews and observe their work.

I admire many designers and thinkers in the creative industry, but four stand out in particular. I have followed many of them since I was in college, watching and reading as many of their interviews and books as I possibly have had time for (man, I wish there was more time in a day). Following these designers has influenced the way I solve creative problems, and has shaped my attitude towards design work throughout my career.

Aaron Draplin

I love Aaron Draplin’s attitude and approach to design. His designs are original, yet classic. He creates the kind of brand identities that are timeless and fit the plethora of mediums that are in our everyday lives.

“…it’s been a triumph just to make a living; it’s been a triumph to save money; it’s been a triumph to love what I do along the way.”

Sarah Parmenter

I first learned of Sarah Parmenter by searching for design podcasts to listen to on iTunes. I came across one that she co-hosted called The Happy Monday podcast. She is a web and UI designer, not to mention a successful entrepreneur as of late. I admire Sarah because she took what she believed in, designing with data, and put it to use with a business venture of her own. This girl practiced what she preached, and it paid off! I also had the privilege to sit in on a presentation she gave at An Event Apart Boston in 2014. She gave a lot of insight into how we can use tools that are right in front of us already (like Facebook and Google) to help us learn even more about our audience.

Jessica Hische

“Email is one of those things that people endlessly bitch about. Remember when it was fun to get emails?”

Jessica Hische is not only one of the most talented letterers and illustrators of my generation, but she would be awesome to sit next to and have a beer with at the local bar (one day it will happen, fingers crossed). She is open, honest, insightful and has a talent I could only dream of. Her work inspires me to take risks in my own projects.

David Airey

image of David Airey, and his Logo Design Love second edition book.

Logo Design Love is one of the first books I purchased when I was a graphic design student in college. I learned a lot from David Airey’s experiences, advice about design work and brand identity in particular. I’ve read his book three times and am on number two with his second edition to Logo Design Love.

But that’s just me. Who are you influenced by? I’d love to pull some inspiration from you! Please feel free to leave your favorites in the comments below.

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